In fact, these days, I have been busy. Every morning, I wake up at 4 am, get to work at 5, my show ends at 10, we have meetings until 12, then I go off to do interviews, edit my tv show, meet again with the SMS team for a final round-up, and usually leave the office no earlier than 5:30 pm. Then it’s home for a shower, dinner, and Fiifi’s bedtime story before I spend a couple of hours doing research. That takes me up until about 10 pm when I can finally start writing my Message from the Morning Man. That hardly ever takes less than three hours, so I finally get to bed around 1 am. And I start all over again at 4 am.
In fact, it’s a good thing I love what I do, otherwise I’d never be able to sustain this. For me, this is not work. This is living my dream, and I am thankful to be one of the few people on earth who gets paid to do what they love. So yes, I know I’m the exception and not the rule. Many of you have equally hectic lifestyles, except you’re doing a job that you were trained for, but not necessarily born for. It was you I was thinking about when I started to write today’s message.
You have to steal time to do the things you love. You have to pretend you’re sick, or have some kind of bereavement, just to get one day with your family, or take your wife to the movies, or play a round of golf. It really is rather tragic. How did we allow this to happen to us? When did we become the least important persons in our own lives?
Let me tell you about my friend Francis. When I met him, Frank was a newlywed baker who was about to finish his degree. His dream was to own a chain of bakeries, but as soon as he graduated, a big hotel chain scooped him up and made him a manager. This was great for Frank, and he figured he could work for them until he had earned enough to set up his first bakery. He was lucky to get the job, and he wanted to prove his worth, so he took on extra responsibilities and worked long hours. He cut down drastically on his baking and only took orders from a few loyal customers. His family missed him a lot, but he explained that he was doing it all for them.
The hotel chain was growing fast, and there were opportunities for advancement, so Frank decided to upgrade himself. He started a Masters degree. This made him even more busy. He never got home before seven, and then he would lock himself in the study. His family missed him a lot, but he explained that he was doing it all for them.
Soon he got his masters and got the promotion. Now, Frank had even more responsibilities than ever. He was now working on weekends too. He hardly ever ate meals with his family, and he almost never had time to bake even for fun. He worked hard at the hotel, and grew his branch to become the biggest and busiest in England. His family missed him a lot, but he explained that he was doing it all for them.
It was no surprise to anyone when they made Frank Area Manager. They gave him a brand new car, and travelling became his new occupation. He slept at home once a week, started to live on vitamins, supplements and energy drinks. He sold his flat and bought a huge house on my street. That same year, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Oh, and he sold his old oven. He did not buy a new one. His family missed him a lot, but he explained that he was doing it all for them.
One day in 2013, when his youngest daughter turned five, his wife, for the first time ever, had to buy a cake for her birthday. That was the day when Frank decided enough was enough. His dream had been to run his own bakery, and in pursuit of that dream, he had given up his dream. That night, he announced to his family that he was going to quit and start baking from home again, He had realised that his whole life was passing him by, and he was missing the chance to spend it with those he loved. Frank hugged his family and went to bed.
In the middle of the night, he had a heart attack and died..
My friends, I tell you this to refresh your purpose. What do you love? Is that what you are spending your life doing? What are you missing out on while you spend your life achieving other people’s dreams? Is this what you wished for yourself when you started out in life. How can you claim you own your life, when you spend none of it doing what you love?
My friends, you’ve got to put this right. It doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your job – it just means reallocating your time so that what you love becomes your priority. It can be done with a little planning and a lot of bravery.
The good news is it’s not too late. it’s never too late. It may take a bold step to rediscover what you love and reallocate your time, so that most of it is spent on that, but you already know the alternative, so take a deep breath and make that change. You’ll be glad you did.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I am not a supporting actor in my own life’s story, so I live it like I own it.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!
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